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Exclusive: Harley Quinn's Origin Retold in DC Black Label's HARLEEN

Harleen DC Black Label Comic

There's no story that DC Black Label is better suited to tell than Harley Quinn's, and that is exactly what her fans will get when the HARLEEN limited series arrives this September. But believe us: this isn't the Harley origin story you've ever heard, or seen before.

We're pleased to announced the upcoming series from writer/artist Stjepan Šejić (AquamanSuicide Squad) that will shine a modern spotlight on the tragic love story, the doomed research, and eventual madness that has defined Harley Quinn since her introduction. In Šejić's HARLEEN, the good doctor's original mission isn't just to stare the madness of Joker in the face... she is going to cure it. And as our preview of the first pages shows, Harleen is going after Batman and Gotham City next.

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From the early plot details and preview pages, it seems Stjepan Šejić will set aside the stereotype of Dr. Harleen Quinzel as a meek, or introverted doctor--eventually 'freed' by her mad love affair with Joker. In fact, the first synopsis for HARLEEN backs up the idea that Joker meets his equal in Dr. Quinzel, on a quest to save all of Gotham from the madness that lurks within the city:

Dr. Harleen Quinzel has discovered a revolutionary cure for the madness of Gotham City—she just needs to prove it actually works. Through her studies of the criminals and sociopaths that pass through the halls of Arkham Asylum and the GCPD, Harleen is seeking to end the growing apathy among the citizens of Gotham. But with the criminal justice and mental health establishments united against her, the brilliant young psychologist must take drastic measures to save Gotham from itself.

Following an attack on the city by the villainous Joker, Harleen will come face-to-face with one of the many criminals she hopes to heal—but she will soon find herself drawn into the madness and insanity that plagues him. Witness Harleen’s first steps on a doomed quest that will launch the legendary super-villain Harley Quinn in this stunning reimagining of Harley and the Joker’s twisted and tragic love affair.

Harleen DC Black Label Cover

Of course, this "intoxicating" love story will still put Harleen and Joker at its heart, re-imagining her original mission to better Gotham, and casting new light on the twisted path that will lead her into the arms of the Joker. Perhaps not as a just a case to be studied, but a forgotten soul in need of a defender. Which, when hearing Šejić describe it, only makes Harleen's story that much more tragic:

"HARLEEN is a story of a flawed person who meant well, a doctor who fell in love with her patient. It is a story of her road to hell—paved with good intentions—and a smile that cost her her soul. More than anything it is a tale about good people falling. Falling in love, falling from grace, and falling apart."

HARLEEN will be released monthly beginning September 25th, featuring three oversize issues in large-print format, with a collection to follow in spring 2020. Fans can check out a first look at the cover and interiors here.

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Harleen DC Black Label Preview 5

Even if DC readers don't yet know Stjepan Šejić by name, they're guaranteed to have seen his artwork. Whether it's the jaw-dropping underwater world of Aquaman, or his previous run-in with Harley Quinn and the rest of the Suicide Squad, Šejić's dreamlike vision of Gotham and Batman bove are exactly what fans have come to expect. And for those familiar with his writing in Sunstone, it makes perfect sense for his re-imagining of the emotionally, mentally, and physically charged courtship of Harley and Joker to find a home at DC Black Label.

HARLEEN will be released in three monthly 'Books' beginning on September 25th, 2019. The three oversize issues in large-print format will also be available in a collected release in Spring 2020.

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